What to Do With Your Loose Change
Believe it or not, loose change is really a secret weapon for meeting your savings and money goals. In fact, Americans throw away a jaw-dropping $62 million in change each year.
Most people spend years stashing away coins in a spare jar without ever using it, lose their change altogether, or even leave it at airport security. Here are a few ways to harness your loose change's true potential so that you can meet your money goals faster.
Smart Use #1: Attach One Savings Goal to It
The trick with accumulating enough coins, to make a difference to the goals you want to save for, is to set one goal at a time (since it'll most likely take a while to get there). Once you meet that goal, you can go ahead and set a new one.
For example, instead of using money from your paycheck to pay for spending money on your next vacation — or to cover your annual anniversary date night — experiment with using your loose change to do so. By designating one meaningful way to spend the change in your life, you'll really start to see the power of all those pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.
Smart Use #2: Give It a Higher Purpose
Perhaps charitable giving has not been at the top of your budget's priority, even though it's definitely at the top of your personal priority list. Collecting your loose change and designating it to one specific charity that is near and dear to your heart can create change while also making you feel good.
A study on generous behavior found that a person planning to give away a little bit of money had the same positive effect on their happiness as a person planning to give away a lot.
Smart Use #3: Use It to Teach Kids About Money
Whether you're a parent yourself or the "cool" aunt/uncle, you can use the spare change you've accumulated to inspire the little ones in your life to get excited about money.
Here are a few ideas for how to do so:
- Coin Identification Practice: Depending on the kids' age, you could ask them to help you roll the different coins up for a bank deposit. While rolling, work with them on identifying each type of coin and how much it's worth.
- Payment for Chores: Instead of having to run to the ATM each time you owe the kids for commissioned chores, you can use the loose change you've collected.
- Match Interest Payments for their Savings Efforts: Use the money to offer an interest incentive plan. Offer to give 5 or 10 percent to whatever savings the child sets aside. If you're looking for an end date for this — and not to give money to them forever — then tell them you'll double the amount of interest earned on money that is set aside for a specific savings goal.
Using any of the three strategies above will help you turn your loose change — something many adults just graze over — to help you meet one of your larger money goals.